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Dernier train pour Istanbul
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Dernier train pour Istanbul

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  2,260 ratings  ·  257 reviews
Lorsque Selva, la fille d'un des derniers descendants de la lignée des pachas ottomans, tombe amoureuse de Rafael, un jeune homme juif, leurs familles vont tout faire pour les séparer et empêcher leur mariage. Ils s'enfuient et partent vivre en France, mais leur bonheur sera de courte durée. L'arrivée de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et du régime nazi va les happer...
Paperback, 303 pages
Published 2009 by Ramsay (first published 2002)
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Advanced Reader's Copy(ARC) - uncorrected proof - from NetGalley.


Istandbul, Ankara, Paris 1941. "Spring arrived hand-in-hand with sorrow." Turkey was between a rock and a hard place. Britain demanded them to become an ally; Germany was threatening; Russia wanted Kars, Ardahan, the Bosphorus, and the Dardanelles. Choosing the losing side would have had dire consequences for Turkey. They learnt their lesson well after the first world war.

It was not only a unsettl
I very nearly abandoned this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

"Last Train to Istanbul" is the story of two privileged sisters, Sabiha and Selva, living in Istanbul. Sabiha follows her culture's expectations by marrying a man of the same faith and who has high ambitions within the new Turkish government. Selva follows her heart, marrying Rafael ... a Jewish man. Both Rafael and Selva are rejected by their families, and so they move to Paris where they will be more accepted.

However, it's the 19
Natalia Pì
Finished. Finally! I say finally because it took me too long due to a busy period...
It also took me long because, well, it's a very interesting story, but I must also say, it's not very well written. Or maybe it's a matter of translation? I can't read Turkish, so I'll never find out. I must say, though, that the editor - who is thanked in the final pages of the book - really didn't do a good job, there are so many tiny mistakes in language that got to me very much, in a 460-page book. Maybe I'm
I got a copy of this book from Netgalley to review.

I don't easily give 5 star reviews but I thought this book was a top historical novel. I call it a top historical novel because it sheds light on a piece of history that I did not know and works very well as a novel.

The book has two themes. The first theme is that it is about two sisters in an aristocratic Turkish family where one marries someone in the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the other marries a Turkish Jew and has to move to France becaus
I would never have opened this book if it hadn’t been given to me by a good friend. I consider it my duty, then, to read it – but not to give it a good review, sorry friend. I knew I would have trouble when I was able to count seven clichés on pages 10-12 alone. That’s the translator’s fault, though. On the other hand, the problem of excessive exposition is the author’s. I go back and forth trying to find something positive to say… Young Tarık is a fairly interesting character, and the plot deal ...more
I chose this book because the blurb had me hooked. I love WWII stories and was intrigued by the influence of Turkey during WWII, it was such an eye opener! This also involved intermarriage of a Muslim girl and Jewish boy which was interesting to read about. Turkey's neutral stance during WWII had a significant impact on the outcome of the war but it is not a topic that has had much coverage in contemporary literature. I did come away from the book with a better understanding of the people and hi ...more
This page-turning and absorbing novel tells the story of two Turkish sisters just before and during WWII. Sabiha is married to Macit, who has an important government post, and through his eyes we see the negotiations between Turkey and the warring nations. Selva has defied her family to marry Rafo, a Jew. In view of both families’ opposition to the marriage – although Turkey was relatively tolerant of Jews, inter-marriage between a Jew and a Muslim was frowned upon - they decide to move to Franc ...more
Last Train to Istanbul was a fascinating read. It was interesting to see Turkey’s perspective as World War Two builds up and explodes across Europe. This novel interplays the personal drama of Selva and her family and the obstacles they face with the political situation and the actual figures involved in the diplomatic efforts. The events of World War Two and the treatment of the European Jews fit in with Selva’s personal story and her disagreements with her father and her family over the subjec ...more
Lauri Rottmayer
I was originally attracted to this book because Istanbul is the number one spot in the world I want to visit. I don't think I knew that it was about World War II. I do love reading stories set in WWII and this book is EXCELLENT!

The story tells of two sisters and a family in Turkey. The older sister marries a diplomat who is extremely involved in trying to keep Turkey out of WWII. The younger sister falls in love and marries a Jewish man. They then leave their families to live in France where th
Set in the turbulent 1930′s and 1940′s in war torn Europe and a changing and uncertain nation of Turkey, Turkish award winning novelist Ayse Kulin, brings to life the very true story of brave men and women, diplomats and ordinary citizens, who worked to bring both Turkish nationals as well as Jews, home to safety from the growing Nazi menace.

Set primarily in France, the story highlights the tension in one well-educated and powerful Turkish family whose political roots and history go back to the
I was surprised to see so many mixed reviews on this book. I absolutely devoured it! I will preface by saying I do love historical fiction and seem to be particularly intrigued by Holocaust stories. I have never read a book by a Turkish author and after recently discussing a friend's recent trip to Turkey, I thought it would be an interesting read. Kulin's story follows two Turkish sisters, Sabiha and Selva. Sabiha marries a Turkish diplomat and lives in the Turkish capital, while Selva marries ...more
In the beginning it was an extremely slow read. To be honest, I put it aside several times feeling I had made a mistake choosing it, as I just could not stay interested.

While in the first several chapters the second world war is in the background it started off as a family saga, which frankly bored me. The more the story went from what was happening in one sister's marriage in Turkey towards the life of the diplomats in occupied France, the more I was drawn into the story. To be honest, while I
Like a lot of reviewers, I too almost gave up at the beginning - I don't think the translation is very good and it does make the writing seem very stilted at times. However, I was really glad I persevered as I was increasingly drawn into the characters and the story.

I really enjoy historical fiction and this was incredibly interesting - I had no idea of the role of the Turkish government in trying to save their Jewish citizens from the Nazis and so I learnt something completely new and fascinati
bengi altinbilek
I was sceptical

I have not read Ayse Kulin for over 15 years. so I was not sure what type of a taste this book would leave in my mouth. I dreaded the first 50 pages of Sabiha's annoying nags but I really liked Paris, Marseille and the train parts. it reflects the damage of war so captivatingly, that it is not only about bombed cities,acute desolation but how it shreds the spirits of individuals, groups and societies even in its perimeter. in the end I was really happy that I decided to read this
Christoph Fischer
"Last Train to Istanbul" by Ayse Kulin is an excellent piece of historical fiction centred around the diplomatic efforts of Turkey to recall its citizens (including Jews) from Nazi occupied territories to bring them home to safety during WWII.
Written in a very engaging prose and bringing some heart breaking private dramas into the historical events this book is very informative, insightful and accomplished.
Believable and likeable characters populate a cleverly written plot, well paced and full o
It's always a little difficult reading books that are translations from another language but on the whole this book still flowed appropriately. The Turkish names took some getting used to but the story was eye opening. The first half of the book goes back and forth between two sisters who have been separated in space as one sister has left Turkey to live with her Jewish husband in France. When these two married both of their families rejected them due to the cross cultural marriage but husband a ...more
Very interesting historical novel about Turkish Jews being secretly evacuated from occupied France during WWII. There were parts where I felt that perhaps the translation might not have done justice to the original in Turkish, because it wasn't exactly fine literature all the time. However, after a while I didn't care, because I was so fascinated by what was happening in the plot.

This book made me not quite so upset with Turkey, after having read many books about the Armenian genocide. It felt g
I was first attracted to this book because it reminded me of the story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul-General in Bordeaux who defied the orders of Salazar by issuing visas to thousands of refugees fleeing from invading German military forces during the beginning of the Second World War. Last Train to Istanbul is set in Turkey, Marseilles, and Paris, and it tells the story of a group of brave people who issued Turkish passports to Jews and non-Turkish citizens who wanted to e ...more
Sara VA
I got this book on my kindle through Amazon’s Lending Library. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I know nothing about Turkey’s role in WWII, but I was looking for something different and gave it a try. Thankfully the translation is smooth, and the reader will likely never notice that the book was not originally written in English.

A nice balance of stories of the individual, daily lives of people and national politics, the book centers around the lives of two sisters – one in Turkey with a husband
This is a victorious story of the Jews' escape from being taken by the Gestapo during the Second World War. As I've mentioned in many of my reviews, fiction based on actual historical events is always a good read. The probability that it could have happened or may actually have happened to someone is just too high; and don't we all enjoy a true story!

The story is centered on a prominent family in Turkey whose youngest daughter married a Jew. Both families resented the union, and the couple, deci
This is an interesting story but not terribly well written though it might be more the fault of the translation...I can't tell which is the culprit. The premise is good in that the book is based on the role of the Turks in WWII and their willingness to remain neutral. In doing so they tried hard to protect their people (no matter what religious beliefs, e.g., Muslim or Jewish) as well as those (many Jews) who needed protection from the Germans. At the heart of this book is the interplay between ...more
Amy Softa
While I can’t say I enjoyed every minute of this book, I’m glad I read it. The reasons I tend to not watch movies or read books about WWII and the persecution of Jews is because it makes me angry. Angry over what happen to millions of people and that for most of the war the world turned a blind eye to Germany and their attempt to erase an entire people from the earth. I have very strong opinions about Germany and how I feel they should be regarded, I will try to rope them in for this review.

While there are other faults with this book (jumbled plot lines with too many characters that aren't needed; stilted translation), what really bothered me about this book was the righteous tone used to describe Turkey and its efforts to save Jews during WWII. Let's not forget Turkey's continued denial of the Armenian genocide.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Turkey is on my Bucket List and it reminded me of so many things I love about the Middle East.
It is an easy read. Well written with good characterisation. Interesting that I have read a number of books lately around the second world war and about the oppression of someone.
The book reminds one of so many other books written in this period and speaks of heroic deeds by ordinary people to help save the persecuted. I truly believe that these ordinary people are the he
Sally Seymore
Although this is a novel it is based on some facts and the author expresses her thanks to the diplomats of Istanbul who fought so hard to save the Jews from death camps. I enjoyed this book and didn't know about this part of the history of the then Ottoman Empire - that it was willing to take the Jews who were expelled from Spain and other countries to build their country, but especially the courageous diplomats who often under very difficult and sometimes life threatening circumstances insisted ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The author built such a wonderful picture of people caught by the Nazi regime. Each character was true to themselves throughout the novel and the ending was one of the seemingly rare 'happy' endings from the World War II period.
Gabriela Manolova
Great book. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is that I am a sucker for drama and there was too little serious drama towards the end. It kept me on edge but nothing really bad happened.

I love how hooked this novel got me on Turkish culture and I definitely intend to read more from this author + start exploring other Turkish literature in general. I really enjoyed the historical setting and the accuracy of the descriptions - I'd, of course, thought of and tried to imagine the second wor
This was an interesting historical novel about Turkey's struggle to stay un-allied during WWII and the countries efforts to save Jewish ex-patriots living in France during WWII . However , I had difficulty keeping track of the many characters, some of whom seemed to "just appear" without any introduction as to who they are or why they are important. I almost gave up on the book, but stayed with it because of my interest in other cultures and WWII. The author portrays Turkey as a socially and pol ...more
Jennifer Boggs
Good bones, rough transitions

It helps to know that the author has spent some time working in cinematography. Scenes are described with great detail, but very little to no emotional description. Also, there are virtually no transitions between scenes, and the significance of connections between characters, events, and locations are left entirely to chance. The story itself is compelling, particularly in its humanism. The storytelling leaves something to be desired. I feel the author must've imagi
I read this to enlighten myself prior to my trip to Turkey. I did learn a lot that I had been ignorant of concerning their history and traditions. However I give this book a three because, although a good story, I felt something was lacking in the translation. For example - when the train is moving the author writes "clackety clack". The use of terms like this and rather simple language and grammar I believe ruined what must have been a beautiful story in the original language. If you want to kn ...more
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Ayşe Kulin is a Turkish contemporary novelist and columnist.
Kulin graduated in literature from the American College for Girls in Arnavutköy. She released a collection of short stories titled Güneşe Dön Yüzünü in 1984. A short story from this called Gülizar was made into a film titled Kırık Bebek in 1986, for which she won a screenplay award from the Turkish culture ministry. Kulin worked as a scre
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Adı: Aylin Veda: Esir Şehirde Bir Konak Sevdalinka Füreya Umut: Hayat Akan Bir Sudur

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